The Nanaimo Buccaneers have been pushed to the brink of elimination by the Comox Valley Glacier Kings.
The Yetis doubled up the Bucs 8-4 on Monday night at the Nanaimo Ice Centre and now lead the best-of-seven playoff series three games to one. Comox scored three times at the end of the first period and the contest was never close.
Nanaimo assistant coach Heath Dennison said the Bucs players lost one-on-one battles against the Glacier Kings and were out of position too often.
“We were more puck watching than we were player watching,” he said. “So when the guy had the puck, he was able to find the open man quite easy.”
Bucs goalie Jakob Severson was chased after allowing the first five goals of the game. Carter Turnbull, Zach Funk, Jordan Levesque and Clayton Peace scored for Nanaimo.
For Comox, Kyle Wade had two goals and Jonas Horvath, Austin McNeil, Ethan Sundstrum, Derian Hamilton, Dylan Sampson and Liam Shaw also tallied. Zachary Straza was the winning goalie as shots ended up 27-24 for the visitors.
Dennison said the Bucs need to put the blowout loss behind them right away.
“They know they messed up in certain areas, they know they should have covered a guy, they know they shouldn’t have taken a penalty,” he said. “It’s a new day [Tuesday], so you come to the rink with a fresh mind.”
The season will be on the line tonight (Feb. 24) in Game 5 at the Comox Valley Sports Centre. The intensity will rise to another level, the assistant coach said.
“Every shift counts more now because at the end of the third period, when the buzzer goes, it’s either we’re coming back or we’re going home…” he said.
“The kids have to look within themselves and look to their left, look to their right, make sure they play for their heart and play for their teammates.”
GAME ON … Faceoff tonight in Comox is at 7 p.m. … Game 6, if necessary, will be Thursday (Feb. 26) at 7:15 at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.